Maria Shriver is opening up about her split from Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying that she sought out life advice at a Convent after her divorce. During an appearance on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast, the journalist told host Hoda Kotb that she began feeling like she “had the freedom or permission” to be herself when she had filed for divorce from the former bodybuilder in July 2011 after 25 years of marriage.
“I first felt like, ‘Oh I’d better go and figure out like, what is the truth?’ ” the 67-year-old said on the podcast. “I went to a convent — I did so many things — but one of the things I did is I went to a convent, a cloistered convent, to be in silence and look for advice.”
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The author went on to share that the convent’s Reverend Mother gave her permission to “go out and become Maria,” during her visit, something she said she’s never revealed before.
“The Reverend Mother there said to me at the very end, she said — and I actually have written about this, but I haven’t shared — she said, ‘I think you came here looking for permission,’ ” Shrivers stated.
“I felt like I was in a scene out of The Sound of Music,” she noted. “She says, ‘You can’t come live here, but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.’ I was sobbing. I was like, ‘Who is that?’
“I think the word permission… I had never given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees, and the world did it to me,” Shriver stated. “And then I was like, ‘Okay, God, let’s go. I’m gonna take this and learn everything I can about my role and what I need to learn.’ “
In the interview, she also revealed that both her notable upbringing being a member of the Kennedy family and her marriage to the actor often made her feel “invisible.” “I would find myself getting angry at people who came up and didn’t acknowledge that I existed when I was standing next to Arnold, or when I was standing next to my uncle or somebody.”
“And then I [realized] they were teaching me a lesson that it’s not about whether they see me,” she said. “Do you see me? Am I visible to me?”
Shrivers and Schwarzenegger first met back in August 1977 at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament after being introduced by Tom Brokaw. The couple married in 1986 and had four children together, 33-year-old Katherine, 31-year-old Christina, 29-year-old Patrick, and 25-year-old Christopher.
She filed for divorce in July 2011 after 25 years of marriage 2 months before the actor publicly admitted he had fathered another son, 25-year-old Joseph Baena, with a family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena.
Their divorce was finalized in December of 2021 but have reportedly remained unified as a family since their breakup.